Sylla McClellan: A dollar gone to Amazon is a dollar gone for good

The holiday shopping season is right around the corner.

With the pandemic waning, fundraising events are back in full force. Small businesses are stocking up for the former and preparing to donate to the latter.

Later this month, a giant online retailer will be hosting one of its “sale” days.

I know a lot of you do not support Amazon, or do, but only conditionally. I know some of you do shop there regularly.

Yes, it’s easy and convenient. But I want to remind you of something: Every time you shop from Amazon, you cast a vote against your community.

Small merchants are asked daily for donations by area nonprofits and schools.

I see the value of supporting others in my community, through cash, gift certificates and product donations. I know that my success is due to those of you who have decided to shop locally.

I also know that as a small business owner, I contribute to the local economy in a variety of ways.

I pay local and state taxes. I employ folks who live in the community, and spend money here in return. Whenever I can, I purchase goods and services from fellow businesspeople based in Yamhill County.

Downtown McMinnville and beyond is a thriving and dynamic place. We host an incredible diversity of businesses for a town our size.

When I travel, I can’t help but compare us to other communities. We always come out on top.

Sometimes I hear people lament the closing of a beloved business.

Businesses close for all kinds of reasons. But often, the most basic one is simply that not enough people supported them.

Keeping your dollars in town makes a difference. It supports your neighbors and enables them to support the organizations you care about.

It also keeps McMinnville an interesting place to live and visit. And we haven’t even touched on the environmental pluses to shopping local:

Fewer boxes. Fewer packing materials. Fewer trips on the roads in vehicles that run on fossil fuels.

I know that you can’t get everything in Yamhill County, and you may not want to drive to get what you need. So, search the interwebs for that special thing and buy it!

But buy it directly from the maker or vendor. It is likely they are supporting their own communities with those dollars.

When people spend their money outside of our community, they are sending those dollars away, never to return. But for every dollar spent here, 68 cents stays in our local economy.

Amazon will never pay taxes to fix our roads or support the local fire district. Amazon will never give a gift certificate for the school carnival.

Amazon will never pay its employees to volunteer at community events. Amazon does not care what happens in McMinnville.

As Americans, we have choices. I encourage you to choose local when you are deciding how to spend your money.